Recycling mercury

Edith of Grand Haven asked, "Where can I properly dispose of mercury? I have a couple of old thermometers that I would guess have mercury in them, and I heard they are very dangerous to the environment to just throw away in the trash."
Mark Brooky
May 6, 2013

ANSWER:

You're right about that, Edith. Mercury is a serious pollutant.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is partnering with the Environmental Quality Co. of Wayne for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Mercury Collection Project. This is an on-going effort to collect and properly recycle mercury.

The project’s objective is to promote a long-term solution for easily collecting and recycling of mercury.  The program is free to anyone in Michigan, businesses and residents. 

Here's how it works:

Upon request, the company will send a free collection bucket with a shipping box to your door via common carrier. Each bucket will contain return instructions. Once the bucket is filled with the mercury containing device(s), apply the return label (provided with your bucket), securely tape the box and place it where the designated shipper normally picks up your packages.

The company will facilitate the recycling of the mercury.

Most mercury items can be returned through this mail-back program. Some examples of eligible mercury containing devices include: thermometers, thermostats, gauges with silver-colored liquid inside, dental amalgam and hydrometers. 

You can either call the company at 734-547-2517 or e-mail them at mercurybucket@eqonline.com to order a free collection container and instruction kit. The program ends Sept. 30.

For mercury recycling locations in West Michigan, CLICK HERE.

More information on the Mercury Collection Program can be found greatlakesrestoration.us/ or eqonline.com.

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Free Mercury Thermometer Exchange program at any health dept branch or recovery center www.miottawa.org/eco

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